Optimism and Your Job Search

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Last year Daniel was “downsized” when his contract was not renewed after five years as the athletic director at a small college in the Northeast.  The college had hired a new president and the president wanted his own person in this position.  At first Daniel was confident he would get another job relatively quickly since he has the reputation of being a hard worker and being a quality administrator.  But the new job never came.

Daniel had interviewed for several other jobs, but the outcome was always the same – he didn’t get the job.  After six months of unemployment his attitude became negative and he started becoming depressed.  It was at this point that he sought the advice from a well-respected colleague.  In their discussion, the colleague recommended that Daniel research the best methods for developing his job search skills, and search for strategies for attaining a more positive attitude.

Daniel purchased a book on career development in college sports, and as he read about the proper techniques he should be using during the interview process, he was surprised at how much he needed to learn in order to be competitive in the job search process.  He then found a blog on the Internet by Brian Tracy that discussed the need for being an optimist.  In his blog, entitled “Be an Optimist at All Times”, Tracy discussed the need for mental fitness so you can feel good about yourself and your situation.  Tracy outlined seven items a person should focus on in order to develop a positive attitude.  These seven items are listed below and include the lessons Daniel took away from each item.

  • Control Your Reactions and Responses – You need to be aware of how you react and respond to your situation.  People like to be around positive people, and your attitude will affect your relationship with the members of the search committee.  Therefore, you need to have a positive and optimistic attitude.
  • Isolate the Incident – Stay positive and know that each interview is an isolated event.  In other words, your next interview is disconnected from your previous interviews and you need to be optimistic that your next interview will lead to a job offer.
  • See Setbacks as Temporary Events – Know that you won’t get every job you interview for and that you need to be persistent in your job search.  This is just a part of the job search process.
  • Don’t Take Failure Personally – Quite often a person doesn’t get the job because the position isn’t the right fit for you, or someone else had an “in” with the organization.  Understand this, don’t take it personally, and move on with the process.
  • Remain Calm and Objective – The job search process can be frustrating.  You need to accept this, learn along the way, and stay positive.
  • Take the Long View – Refuse to take the rejection letter personally, and know that it’s a numbers game.  The more interviews you have, the more likely you are to be hired.  It all takes time.
  • Action Exercises – Continually provide yourself with positive self-talk and remind yourself that your situation is temporary.  Stay strong and look at each job interview as not being connected with the previous interview, but recognize when things go wrong.  You will want to analyze your performance from each interview and improve your performance for your next interview.

It took Daniel another two months to land a job as an athletic director at another small college.  He credits his success in securing the job to learning the proper job search skills, and from the teachings of optimism by Brian Tracy.  Daniel is now a big believer in the power of positive thinking.

Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process. In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!

Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University.  He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach.  He is also an author of 9 books.  Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.SportsCareersInstitute.com.

 

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How To Get A Job In Sports Management: Six Strategies for breaking into the industry

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Ryan is a senior in college and will be graduating in May with a degree in Sports Management.  This past semester he took a sports management class where the professor shared six strategies that students should use in order to break into the sports management profession.

As Ryan explored each technique, he found that getting a job in the sports field can be difficult for many people.  He found that there are various methods that can be used in order to get a job in the industry.  Below is an overview of the six strategies his professor shared with the class.

  • Informational Interviews – An informational interview is a technique used by people who are looking to gain knowledge and insights into a particular profession.  In college sports, the interviewee will contact someone who is employed in a management position such as an athletic director or an associate athletic director.  The interviewee will schedule a meeting and will be prepared with a list of questions to ask the manager.  This technique is good if you want to gain more insights into the industry.  It is also a great way to begin networking within the profession.
  • Master’s Degree – Consider going back to graduate school so you can pursue your master’s degree in sports management.  In some instances, a graduate student can be hired as a Graduate Assistant.  This type of position will pay a stipend and will provide you with invaluable experiences.  If you are in graduate school and don’t have a graduate assistantship, you should volunteer your services and begin to gain experience within the industry.  This is a great way to break into the profession and to gain experience.   A master’s degree is becoming a necessity for moving up in the profession.
  • Volunteer – Another great way to break into the industry is to volunteer your time and services in an athletic department.  There are always opportunities in game management, security, ticket sales, and marketing.  This would be a great question to ask in an informational interview – Are there any opportunities to volunteer in the department in order to gain experience?  Who should I contact?  If you do volunteer, make sure you do a great job; your reputation is at stake and you will want a letter of recommendation or a reference some day.
  • Internship – If you are a current student, seek out an internship.  These are usually in conjunction with your studies and provide credits toward your degree.
  • Entry-level Job – Many athletic departments will hire students and part-time employees to work at home sporting events.  Ask the ticket manager, the marketing director, or the sports information director if they hire people for part-time positions at the home contests.  Again, if you are hired, do a great job.  Make yourself invaluable.  You just might find yourself being hired in a full-time position within the athletic department.
  • Network into a job – As you have probably discovered, networking is the key to getting a job.  Utilize the above opportunities and techniques to get to know people and then stay in touch with them and build friendships.

Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process. In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!   If you need to learn the fundamental skills of the job search process, check out the book “Getting Hired in College Sports”.  It is used by many sports management programs to help provide their students with the job search skills that are necessary for them to compete in the highly competitive sports industry.

Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University.  He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach.  He is also an author of 9 books.  Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.SportsCareersInstitute.com.

Closing The Knowing-Doing Gap In The Job Search Process

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Ted was using the shotgun approach when applying for jobs.  He was applying for every job that caught his attention.  He estimated that he has applied for about 10 jobs each week over that last several months.  He was frustrated that he hasn’t gotten an interview for any of these positions, so he decided to ask a career counselor for help.  The counselor asked to see his resume and one of Ted’s cover letters.  It didn’t take long for the counselor to provide some assistance. Ted was using the same cover letter for each position and generalizing it by addressing it to “To Whom It May Concern.”  The counselor advised Ted that he should be personalizing each cover letter.  Ted responded by saying that he knew this, but “he didn’t have the time to apply for all of the jobs and personalize each cover letter.”  The counselor referred to Ted’s error, in not personalizing his letter, as the Knowing-Doing Gap.

The Knowing-Doing Gap is a phenomenon that authors describe as the difference (or gap) between knowing what should be done in a particular situation, and the reality of what is actually being done.  As it applies to career development, your goal should be to gain the knowledge on how to properly conduct each aspect of the job search process, and then execute and perform these techniques and strategies to secure a job.  The difference between your knowledge of the job search process, and how you apply this knowledge is the Knowing-Doing Gap.

Knowing

The first thing Ted needed to do was to become familiar with the proper techniques and strategies associated with the job search process.  He thought he knew what the correct methods were, despite the fact that he has never taken a class or read a book on the job search process.  He gained most of his knowledge about resumes and cover letters through suggestions from friends.

Doing

Once Ted learns the correct techniques and strategies for the job search process, he will want to execute these techniques and strategies correctly every time he applies for a job.  The doing process takes a considerable amount of time if you are going to do it right. For each job you apply for, you will want to research the basics of the job (and the organization) so you can personalize your promotional materials, gain an understanding of who is involved in the hiring process, and determine if you are a good fit for the position and the organization.  When you are invited for an interview, you will need to continue with your research and be completely prepared for both the interview stage and the follow-up stage of the job search process.

Closing the Gap

Once you know the proper techniques and strategies of the job search process, you will need to make sure that you are executing these techniques correctly so there isn’t a gap between what you know and what you do.  By learning the proper techniques of the job search process, and by closing the knowing-doing gap, you will be able to secure a job that’s right for you.  In Ted’s case, his cover letters weren’t properly formatted and he didn’t personalize his letters.  Once he learned the proper techniques, and he executed the techniques correctly, Ted not only received an interview but he was able to secure the job he wanted.

The key is that you know the basic fundamental skills that are associated with each stage of the job search process and that you effectively performing these skills.  In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!

Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University.  He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach.  He is also an author of 9 books.  Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.SportsCareersInstitute.com or his new book Execute for Success at www.execute4success.com.